Kirk and Spock: Do They or Don't They?

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Event: Kirk and Spock: Do They or Don't They?
Participants: Leslie Fish, Gerry Downes, Gayle F, Theresa Holmes, Amy Harlib, Connie Faddis, and Amy Falkowitz
Date(s): Saturday, May 28, 1977, 4 p.m.
Type: convention panel
Fandom: K/S, Star Trek: TOS
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Kirk and Spock: Do They or Don’t They? was the first public discussion of K/S. [1]

The panel took place at SeKWester*Con, Too! at Kalamazoo, Michigan. The moderator was Carole S. The panelists are listed as Leslie Fish, Gerry Downes, Gayle F, Theresa Holmes, Amy Harlib, Connie Faddis, and Amy Falkowitz. It is related to the The SekWester*Con Porn Debate.

It was, by all accounts, the most well attended event at the convention and quite boisterous. At the panel, Carol Frisbie, editor of "Thrust," informed the audience that Gene Roddenberry knew about K/S and had told them that, "as long as it stays underground, and away from the mothers of America," he had no problem with it. Parts of the panel went unintentionally public when a problem with the hotel sound system inadvertently projected Connie Faddis reading aloud from an explicit story into the hallway. And while the panel was controversial and generated loud objections, the convention organizers pointed out afterwards in Menagerie #12 that when the panel was announced in the convention progress report: "Ten people volunteered to be 'pro' the K/S relationship; no one volunteered to be 'con.' We had to draft the opposition."

However, amateur author Theresa H., who'd sat on the "con" side, later revealed:
...I didn’t do too well. There are several reasons. First, Leslie Fish is a very intimidating person. Sitting next to her did not help my courage in the slightest. Second, hearing Amy H. declare herself neutral rather than con, perceived at the time as something of a cop-out, didn’t help much either. Third, prior to the panel, I had discussed the matter with quite a few people who indicated a basic agreement with me, but who all refused to show up, primarily because they were afraid to get emotionally involved—their words. This lack of support also did not help. Finally, I am very poor at public speaking; unless I know I’m among friends, I get extremely nervous. If I may say so, you are extremely fortunate to have had any con side at all... [2]

This panel was recorded, and later, transcribed by K.S. Langley. See The Sound and the Fury: The First Panel Discussion About K/S.

While there were a number of pass-around underground K/S fanfics in existence, at the time of this panel there had been only a handful of published slash zine stories: A Fragment Out of Time (September 1974), Alternative: Epilog to Orion (August 1976), Shelter (October 1976), ... And Dust to Dust (January 1977), Green Plague (February 1977), and Poses (March 1977).

An Audio Oops

To prove a point, Connie F read aloud from her story in R&R #3, “None There Embrace". In the middle of Connie’s reading, it was discovered that the hotel audiovisual staff were mistakenly projecting the panel discussion beyond the panel room.

Leslie continued, “She has got a flawless plot and I can’t find fault. The only ceiling that we know, within the premise of the aired episodes, to the violence of pon farr, is that the fact that one fragile Earth woman named Amanda Grayson has managed to survive and enjoy it for many years.”

Connie interjected, “Ah, but I’m talking about rectums, not vaginas.”

Leslie: “Okay, getting medical here the human rectum is not as flexible as the human vagina—

Connie: “Not as tough, not as slick—and not as happy.” [audience laughter.]

Leslie: “The only point I can possibly make there is that Jim Kirk is an awfully big, um [audience laughter muffles speaking] some cases being one of the bigger assholes....” [more audience laughter muffles speaking] “She’s right, that is the only ceiling we’ve got so far on the question of what would happen in pon farr. Now, the stories I’ve written, ‘Shelter’ and ‘Poses,’ I’ve chosen to take the problem outside of pon farr, to treat as a result of an emotional involvement.

Connie: “Which biologically is an entirely different premise.”

Leslie: “Yes, which more involves the human side of sexuality. And particularly, in this relationship, if you read that long, long love scene in ‘Poses,’ I was careful to structure it in such a way that it grows out of, first the emotional involvement and then a simple [unintelligible] simply touching each other.”

There was an interruption to report, “This microphone bleeds into the other room where the kids are.”

Leslie: “Now you tell me.” [audience laughter and then applause]

Connie: “Those are some damned enlightened kids.” [audience laughter]

Audience comment: “They’re not hearing anything they haven’t heard in school by the third grade.”

Someone clarified that it was being heard by the hotel employees, or something like that.

[Short pause in tape, followed by audience comments.] [3]


  1. ^ Other fans point to the August Party in 1976 where Leslie Fish almost caused a riot when she defended K/S. However, the August Parties were not formal conventions, even though they were quite influential in disseminate information throughout fandom.
  2. ^ Probably from Menagerie 14.
  3. ^ Transcript by K.S. Langley, see The Sound and the Fury: The First Panel Discussion About K/S.